Preparing a strong grant application takes time, knowledge and resources. On this page, you will find some helpful tips and advice. A list of resources has also been complied for your reference.
Tips and advice
- Start early!
- Identify a funding agency/opportunity of interest
- Review successful applications for that opportunity (or similar ones). Please contact the Office of Research and Innovation to obtain copies of previously successful applications.
- Attend funding opportunity information sessions (hosted by UNBC or the funding agency)
- Review and understand the funding description (are you applying to the right funding opportunity?)
- Review, understand and follow the funding opportunity guidelines
- Follow the formatting guidelines
- Consider your target audience (the sponsor and the reviewer)
- Respond to the request for proposals (be persuasive)
- Avoid acronyms and use non-technical language (reviewers may not be experts in your field)
- Presentation matters!
- Prepare a clear and feasible budget that is well justified
- Review and edit, review and edit again, and again, and again...
- Seek peer review (through your colleagues or through the Office of Research and Innovation)
- Participate in a grant development workshop
Grant development workshops
In 2022, the Office of Research and Innovation will be piloting a Grant Writing Summer School. The Summer School will be open to UNBC Faculty and Postdocs, as well as to Northern Health and BC Cancer Agency Clinical Researchers. The Summer School is free, however, registration will be required (more details to come).
Summer School participants will be required to participate in an orientation session, as well as four grant development workshops. Participants will also be matched with a mentor who will work closely with them in the preparation of a grant application, which participants can then submit to a funding agency. Participants and mentors will be provided with a certificate of completion at the end of the summer school.
Orientation: May 10, 2022 (9 am to 10 am). Delivered by the Office of Research and Innovation. This session will introduce participants and mentors to the Summer School (review of participant/mentor roles, expectations, and format of the program).
Session 1 - Making the Plan: May 17, 2022 (9 am to noon). Delivered by Dr. Dawn McArthur. This session will focus on planning to apply and mapping the research. Participants will then research funding opportunities and map their research under the guidance of their mentor.
Session 2 - Crafting the Proposal: June 21, 2022 (9 am to noon). Delivered by Dr. Dawn McArthur. This session will focus on drafting the proposal. Participants will then develop their proposal under the guidance of their mentor.
Session 3 - Refining the Proposal: July 26, 2022 (9 am to noon). Delivered by Dr. Dawn McArthur. This session will focus on reviewing, editing, refining and finalizing the proposal. Participants will then peer review each other's proposal; mentors will also review their mentees proposal.
Session 4 - Feedback and Final Words: August 30, 2022 (9 am to noon). Delivered by Dr. Dawn McArthur. This session will focus on feedback and final words. The session will also include information on resubmitting an application. Participants will then work with their mentor to finalize their applications for submission to a funding agency.
About the Speaker
Dr Dawn McArthur is a scientist who has held senior research development positions since 1999, first at SFU and since 2003 at the Children’s & Women’s Health Centre of BC, where there are two UBC research institutes [BC Children's Hospital Research Institute (BCCHR) and Women’s Health Research Institute (WHRI)]. Dr McArthur was recruited to the Children’s & Women’s campus to establish and lead the Research & Technology Development Office (RTDO), where she has a system-wide mandate to enhance research excellence, capacity, and competitiveness of the campus’s multidisciplinary research community. The RTDO is a small unit of highly trained specialists and has an exceptional record for success, helping to bring in nearly $500 million in external funding. Dr McArthur works with researchers from all fields, from arts/design to zoology. She gives workshops and webinars in Canada and abroad on various topics related to grants and research development.
Office of Research and Innovation Supports
- Research Guide
- Internal review by Research Project Officers: In addition to ensuring that the highest quality applications are submitted by UNBC researchers, the internal review is necessary to ensure that the legal obligations and requirements of UNBC, the funding agency, and other stakeholders are met. As an institution, we endeavour to conduct research activities in accordance with the highest standards of professionalism, safety, and ethics.
- Peer Review: If you wish to have your grant application peer reviewed (i.e. to receive an expert opinion on the content), the Office of Research and Innovation would be pleased to seek such expertise. Please allow 6 weeks for a peer review. Please also consult your unit for any process that is in place to enhance your success in the grant competition.
Kraicer, J. (May, 1997). The Art of Grantsmanship.
Johnson, A.M. (April, 2011). Charting a Course for a Successful Research Career: A Guide for Early Career Researchers 2nd Edition.
McInnes, R., Andrews, B. and Rachubinski, R. CIHR Guidebook for New Principal Investigators: Advice on Applying for a Grant, Writing papers, Setting Up a Research Team and Managing Your Time.
Mosier, K. Deconstructing the Art of Grantsmanship. (Article in publication; link to come soon)